Developing, Linking and Applying Climate Knowledge

Some 220 scientists attended the WCRP Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean, held in Montevideo from 17 to 21 March in cooperation with the Universidad de la Republica de Uruguay.

The main goal of the conference was to define a research agenda to support the provision of effective climate services in the region. The Conference focused in a specific economic sector and societal aspect – health, water, energy, agriculture, ecosystems, and urban and coastal environments – each day.

The scientists sought to expand the analysis of observations and model outputs in order to facilitate the creation of knowledge-based systems that are credible, relevant and salient for society. When climate affects risk management and human decisions, societal dimensions and their complexities need to be taken into account.

The Conference recognized that improving climate monitoring and prediction is critical for building knowledge-networks. Moreover, discussions highlighted the importance of combining forecasts with more general climate information, optimized by including available local expertise. As noted by several speakers, the region lacks adequate climate observation and monitoring systems with sufficient temporal and spatial resolutions to characterize and quantify climate related risks. Some of the countries have very poor information systems and the quality, number and distribution of meteorological stations, upper soundings and remote sensing capabilities are in general far from ideal.

The Conference identified six priorities for the development of climate services in the region and proposed a research agenda to be considered as part of the WCRP Grand Challenge on Regional Climate Information.

The Conference received support from the Inter-American Development Bank, the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research, the GFCS and a number of regional and local organizations.

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